The GAA have accepted the letter of offer for the NI Executive investment of £61.4 million for the redevelopment of Casement Park Belfast following a meeting of the Ulster Council tonight in Armagh and a Meeting of the GAA’s National Management Committee last night in Croke Park. The letter of offer confirms the NI Executive’s commitment to investing in a new 40,000 seated capacity stadium which will be built on the existing Casement Park site.
Welcoming the acceptance of the Executive’s investment Ulster GAA President Aogan Ó Fearghail commented:
“This was an important decision for the Ulster Council and the GAA at Central level and I am delighted that we have received approval and endorsement from both bodies.
“Acceptance of the letter of offer is a significant milestone in both the Casement Park redevelopment project and the ongoing implementation of the Ulster GAA Strategic Action Plan and Vision. A strong team jointly led by Stadium Board Chairman Tom Daly and Provincial Secretary and Director Danny Murphy have worked extremely hard to make our vision of a new Provincial Stadium in Ireland’s second city into a reality. I want to also recognise the support and input from the GAA President Christy Cooney and Director General Paraic Duffy who is a member of the Stadium Board. I also thank the Antrim County GAA led by Jim Murray and Frankie Quinn for their continued input.
“I want to recognise and thank the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Caral Ni Chuilin MLA, First Minister Peter Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA MP for their confidence in and ongoing support for Ulster GAA as we begin a new and exciting stage in the development of Casement Park. Finally I would like to thank Sport NI for their continued partnership with Ulster GAA in the ongoing development process”
Tom Daly, Chairman of the Casement Park Stadium Board commented:
“Tonight’s decision marks the completion of the first phase of a process to ensure provision of a modern, fit for purpose stadium for the GAA in Ulster. Since Ulster GAA was first asked in early 2009 to come forward with the proposals to meet Ulster’s strategic stadium requirement we have engaged closely with the individual County Committee Chairpersons, Ulster Council and the GAA at Central level to ensure a united approach to this development. I want to acknowledge the support received from all quarters in this regard. The combination of the Executive funding and the support we have received from the GAA at Central level in partnership funding allows us to progress full steam ahead with the complex processes which will ultimately deliver this project.
“The next phase of the development is to appoint a full design team which we hope will be in place by July 2012 following the current procurement procedures which have been employed. We will also begin a significant community engagement process over the coming weeks with local residents, businesses, Community stakeholders and GAA Clubs in the neighbouring Casement area.
“The contribution of the Provincial Secretary and Director of Ulster GAA Danny Murphy to ensuring we have arrived at this successful point cannot ever be overstated. I would also highlight that there has been an exceptionally high level of commitment from the Senior Staff team within Ulster GAA to the delivery of this positive outcome.”